Title: High-Resolution Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometry for 234U/238Pu Age Dating of Plutonium Materials and Comparison to Sector Field Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry
Authors: KRACHLER MICHAELALVAREZ SARANDES LAVANDERA RafaelRASMUSSEN Gert
Citation: ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY vol. 88 no. 17 p. 8862-8869
Publisher: AMER CHEMICAL SOC
Publication Year: 2016
JRC N°: JRC102150
ISSN: 0003-2700
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC102150
DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.6b02472
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Employing a commercial high-resolution inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (HR-ICP-OES) instrument, an innovative analytical procedure for the accurate determination of the production age of various Pu materials (Pu powder, cardiac pacemaker battery, 242Cm heat source, etc.) was developed and validated. This undertaking was based on the fact that the α decay of 238Pu present in the investigated samples produced 234U and both mother and daughter could be identified unequivocally using HR-ICP-OES. Benefiting from the high spectral resolution of the instrument (<5 pm) and the isotope shift of the emission lines of both nuclides, 234U and 238Pu were selectively and directly determined in the dissolved samples, i.e., without a chemical separation of the two analytes from each other. Exact emission wavelengths as well as emission spectra of 234U centered around λ = 411.590 nm and λ = 424.408 nm are reported here for the first time. Emission spectra of the isotopic standard reference material IRMM-199, comprising about one-third each of 233U, 235U, and 238U, confirmed the presence of 234U in the investigated samples. For the assessment of the 234U/238Pu amount ratio, the emission signals of 234U and 238Pu were quantified at λ = 424.408 nm and λ = 402.148 nm, respectively. The age of the investigated samples (range: 26.7–44.4 years) was subsequently calculated using the 234U/238Pu chronometer. HR-ICP-OES results were crossed-validated through sector field inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (SF-ICPMS) analysis of the 234U/238Pu amount ratio of all samples applying isotope dilution combined with chromatographic separation of U and Pu. Available information on the assumed ages of the analyzed samples was consistent with the ages obtained via the HR-ICP-OES approach. Being based on a different physical detection principle, HR-ICP-OES provides an alternative strategy to the well-established mass spectrometric approach and thus effectively adds to the quality assurance of 234U/238Pu age dates.
JRC Directorate:Nuclear Safety and Security

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